Looking back on this Easter Monday, I'm realizing I've worked a lot of holidays and basically in non-traditional ways, like from home, but also the truck, hotel room, coffee shop, and currently the garage, since 2015.
Setting yourself up for success in these scenarios is more than just "Should I shower today?"
Here's what I've discovered works best when trying to work from home:
Just because you don't have a task master, doesn't mean you are off the hook! To be productive, set a routine around when you will work and what that will look like. Be specific.
I like to tick off a lot of small around the house tasks before I start - helps build momentum and start the day off right.
Structure is the antidote to chaos.
2) Set boundaries.
A routine to start is essential, but a routine to stop is just as important. It's easy for your work to spill into everything - before you know it you are working from the couch all the time and free time doesn't exist.
You start convincing yourself you're working all the time, but that's a lie to make you feel better about all the time you're wasting.
You deserve success, but you also deserve a break from it all. You can have both. Set boundaries around what you will and what you won't do.
3) Do the hard stuff first.
When you're doing things in isolation, it's easy to stick with what is safe. Good bosses hold us accountable to this work, but now you may not have one.
Stop avoiding the work you know you NEED to do.
There's a bunch of reasons why this happens, you may be lazy but chances are you're actually afraid you may end up becoming what you're meant to be. That's a lot of pressure man!
Do the hard stuff, but be gentle to yourself too.
Taking this and our current work-from-home pandemic into account, here is my current daily set-up:
6:00-6:30 AM: Wakey wakey
7:00 AM: Training in the garage
Training right away checks off one of the things in my day that manages stress and keeps me sane. I bring Max out to give Amy and chance to get ready or we all lift together.
For anyone curious about my personal nutrition, I'll take pre-workout and BCAA's and train fasted. I'm not usually hungry when I first wake-up and will start eating in a few hours. This helps me get rolling ASAP.
8:00 - 8:30 AM: SHOWER
I could probably skip the shower and get right to work - but making myself presentable, even if I'm not going to see anyone helps set the tone for the day. It's part of the routine and makes me more likely to video content because I'm happier with the way I look.
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM: WORK DAY Part 1
Here is where I focus on the "hard stuff" - I'm not intuitively creative, so if I don't prioritize business building - like creating social media content (videos, long form written posts, blog) I'll start responding to client e-mails <<<<< this can turn into an all day endeavor and leave my unaccomplished without a lot of business prospects/leads.
So I start with the hard stuff - work on creative content and set myself up to share. Not diving right into my client updates is one of the hardest things for me to do.
I'll usually eat something while working around 10 AM this period as well.
12:30 PM: Lunch time
I try to eat this meal away from the computer - eating lunch while working is one of the biggest lies I've told myself in the intent to "work hard". I've been doing it since first year of grad school - I've learned to step away from work, spend some time focusing on eating or being with family. The time away helps me get back into work instead of mindlessly scrolling once lunch is over.
1:00 - 4:00 PM: WORK DAY Part 2
Back from lunch and ready to dive into client updates. Since I don't have all day to do these now, which I would have if I started at 8:30 AM, I work harder and "bang them all off".
Takes half the time and making sure I do some creative work first ensures that I am:
Working on my business and not just in my business.
4:30 PM: Mandatory outdoor and family time
Coach Amy has been prepping us for a half-marathon, so we spend this time going for a run or just getting outside for a walk.
This might be the most important part of my day - I spent a lot of time thinking "I don't need to spend time outdoors, I need to work harder". Being outside makes a huge difference in my mood.
6:00 PM: Dinner and night time
We've been trying to eat together as a family, which is important for Max. After he goes to bed, I really try my best not to work (this isn't always the case, especially Thursdays since I have my Nutrition Coaching live seminar and our Synergy Nutrition team weekly meeting).
But on other days, I try not to answer client e-mails and spend time doing something not work related. Again, this helps me set some boundaries and be more productive in the time I am working.
However, when I know we have something going on during the day I'll do some work to get ahead and try to be more flexible. One of the perks of being self-employed. BUT, this doesn't mean you don't have a normal routine and structure in place.
That's it, that's all. Creating a routine, setting some boundaries and doing the hard work first are my biggest tips for working from home. I hope this helps anyone thrown into the chaos of non-traditional work - be it online coaching or just working from home in a pandemic.
- Coach Marc